Damfino. Once popular words that no one uses anymore

Language is a funny old thing. We take it for granted most of the time, but it’s incredible to think that countless people have come to almost the same understanding of what some randomly ordered letters refer to. It’s even stranger when you start looking at things like slang words, or words that were once on the tip of every tongue that no one even remembers anymore. Some of these words need to be brought back. Others need to be forgotten…


We’re not entirely sure where damfino came from, but we do know it makes an excellent PG-rated curse, and people need to use it more.
According to Passing English of the Victorian Era, it’s a shortened version of “I am damned if I know.” If you’re in a situation that calls for that particular curse, “damfino” is the way to say it with a verbal shrug and an eye roll. That’s especially true in the chaos of today’s world, when you can drop gems like: “Damfino how they didn’t see that advertisement was horribly racist.”
In spite of Victorian roots, the word was hugely popular through the 1920s thanks to Buster Keaton. According to The International Buster Keaton Society, Damfino was the name of a boat associated with him, mostly because it’s a ready-made punchline just waiting to be delivered after the boat sinks. Humor has changed a lot, too.
by Debra Kelly
Read More: http://www.grunge.com/104449/popular-words-one-uses-anymore/?utm_campaign=clip

Arf-an-arf, and arf'arf'an'arf. Once popular words that no one uses anymore

Language is a funny old thing. We take it for granted most of the time, but it’s incredible to think that countless people have come to almost the same understanding of what some randomly ordered letters refer to. It’s even stranger when you start looking at things like slang words, or words that were once on the tip of every tongue that no one even remembers anymore. Some of these words need to be brought back. Others need to be forgotten…
Arf-an-arf, and arf’arf’an’arf


Let’s head back to Victorian England for some drunk slang that’s fun to say. According to the admittedly dull-sounding 1909 book Passing English of the Victorian era: A Dictionary of Heterodox English, Slang and Phrase, if you were hanging out in a Victorian pub, you might order an arf-an-arf. That’s the drink we now call half and half (or, if you want to be less politically correct, a black and tan). It’s traditionally a pint that’s half porter and half ale, so you can see where arf-an-arf comes from. Just imagine some salty seadog, fresh off a trade ship from India, stomping into a dockside pub and demanding his “arf-an-arf!”
If he happened to demand a few too many, he might become what was called arf’arf’an’arf, as in, “Old One-Thumb Harry was so arf’arf’an’arf he tipped over a lantern, set himself on fire, and then fell off the dock.” We’ve all got stories about those nights.
by Debra Kelly
Read More: http://www.grunge.com/104449/popular-words-one-uses-anymore/?utm_campaign=clip

Top Twenty Inventors Killed by Their Inventions

There’s something ingrained in humans that cause us to take dangerous risks and try things that might change the world. Over the course of civilization, thousands upon thousands of inventions succeeded beyond their creator’s wildest dream. But some were epic fails. Here’s a look at the top twenty inventors who were killed by their own inventions.

20. Thomas Andrews was the chief naval architect for the R.M.S. Titanic and it was his honor to accompany the ship on its maiden voyage. Andrews was aware of the Titanic’s vulnerability in ice-laden waters and originally called for the Titanic to be double-hulled and equipped with forty-six lifeboats, instead of the twenty it actually carried. He was overruled due to cost constraints. When the Titanic struck the iceberg on April 15, 1912, Andrews heroically helped many people into the lifeboats. He was last seen in the first-class smoking lounge, weeping. His body was never recovered.
19. William Bullock invented the first modern printing press. While installing a machine for the Philadelphia Public Ledger, Bullock tried to kick a belt onto a pulley and got his leg crushed in the moving mechanism. He quickly developed gangrene and his leg needed amputating. During his surgery on April 12, 1867, Bullock died of complications.
18. Francis Edgar Stanley invented the photographic dry plate which he sold to George Eastman of Eastman-Kodak fame. With the profits, he founded the Stanley Motor Carriage Company and developed a line of steam-powered automobiles called Stanley Steemers. On July 13, 1918, Francis Stanley was testing one of his Steemers and swerved to miss some farm animals. He plowed into a wood pile and died.
17. Jean-Francoise Pilatre de Rozier was a French chemistry and physics teacher as well as being the true father of aviation. He made the first hot air balloon flight in 1783. He was also the first to experiment with hydrogen as a propellant, testing it by taking a mouthful and blowing it across an open flame. After losing his hair and eyebrows, he dismissed hydrogen as being too volatile — something the makers of the Hindenburg would later confirm. On July 15, 1785, de Rozier attempted to cross the English Channel in his balloon. It crashed, killing de Rozier and his passenger.
16. Louis Slotin was an American nuclear physicist who worked on the Manhatten Project. After the war, Slotin continued to experiment with plutonium and accidently set off a fission reaction which released a hard burst of radiation. Realizing what he’d done, Slotin heroically covered the material with his body while the others made a run for the hills. He died on May 30, 1946, two weeks after the exposure.
15. Karel Soucek was a Czechoslovakian daredevil and inventor. He built a specially-designed, shock-proof barrel and repeatedly flowed over Niagara Falls. To top this feat, Soucek invented a new capsule which was dropped from the roof of the Houston Astrodome on January 20, 1985. It missed its target, which was a small water container, and Soucek was killed on impact. World-renown stuntman, Evel Knievel, tried to talk Soucek out of it, saying “It was the most dangerous thing I’ve ever seen.”
14. Sylvester H. Roper invented the world’s first motorcycle. He called it a velocipede and it was actually a converted bicycle powered by a steam engine. On June 01, 1896, Roper was testing the machine on a bicycle racing track and was lapping the pedal-powered two-wheelers at over forty mph. Suddenly, he wiped out and died. The autopsy showed the cause of death to be a heart attack, but it’s not known if the attack caused the crash or if the crash caused the attack. He was seventy-two.
13. Horace Lawson Hunley invented the submarine. His first prototype trapped seven sailors underwater and killed them all. Hunley went back to the drawing board and came up with a new and improved sub, aptly named the H.L. Hunley, which he skippered himself. On October 15, 1863, Hunley was testing the Hunley off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, when it failed to surface and again killed the crew — including Hunley himself.

12. Aurel Vlaicu
 was a Romanian inventor and test pilot of his own line of aircraft, called the Vlaicu WR I, II, and III. He achieved many notable firsts such as the highest, longest, and fastest flights. On Friday, September 13, 1913, Vlaicu’s luck ran out when he attempted the highest altitude flight ever — crossing the peaks of the Carpathian Mountains. The cause of the crash was never determined.
11. Valerian Abakovsky invented the Aerocar, also known as the Aerowagon, which was a steam-powered, propeller-driven rail car intended to whisk railway executives quickly across the vast lands of Siberia. On July 24, 1921, the twenty-five-year-old Abakovsky was whirling a group of twenty-two big-shots from Tula to Moscow when he approached a curve at over eighty mph. His Aerocar went airborne and killed six, including the inventor.
10. Marie Curie was a Polish chemist/physicist who pioneered research into radioactivity and won the Nobel Prize — twice. Besides proposing the theory of radiation and discovering two elements, she is credited with inventing radiography or X-rays. Curie died on July 14, 1934, in a French sanatorium from aplastic anemia due to long-term exposure to radiation, probably from her habit of carrying test-tubes of plutonium in her pockets.
9. James Fuller “Jim” Fixx didn’t exactly invent running but he popularized it through his mega-bestselling book Complete Book Of Running. Fixx took up the sport after a lifetime of stress and bad habits. He became a world celebrity on fitness and healthy living. On the morning of July 20, 1984, he was out for his daily running fix and fell dead in his tracks on Route 15 in Hardwick, Vermont. His official cause of death was a fulminant heart attack. The autopsy showed his heart arteries were 70% blocked in the right anterior descending, 80% blocked in the left anterior descending, and 95% blocked in the circumflex. Runner Jim Fixx was fifty-two.
8. Max Valier was an Austrian rocket scientist who invented solid and liquid fueled missiles. Given his success with flight, Valier thought it’d be cool to make a rocket-propelled car. It worked, too, and he got it up to 250 mph. Trying to get even better, Valier experimented with alcohol as a combustible. That got away on him and blew up on his workbench, killing Valier and burning his workshop down.
7. Alexander Bogdanov was a Russian physician, writer, politician, and inventor of sorts. He was a major player in the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and ended up in jail. He talked his way out of death row and back into medicine where he became obsessed with blood. Bogdanov founded the Institute For Haematology and was convinced that blood transfusion was the ticket to the fountain of youth. To back up his beliefs, he used himself as a crash-test dummy and transfused blood from a patient suffering malaria and tuberculosis into his own system. He died two days later on April 07, 1928, but the patient slowly got better. It seems that the blood types were incompatible — something little known in the day.
6. Otto Lilienthal was known as The Glider King. A German pioneer in aviation, Lilienthal made over 2,000 glider flights and is credited with perfecting the gull-wing design and set the long-held record of soaring to 1820 feet. On August 10, 1896, Lilienthal experimented with “shifting weight” in a glider at fifty feet. It lost lift, stalled, and he augered into the ground, breaking his neck.
5. Li Si died in 208 BC at age seventy-two of The Five Pains. That was a form of torture or “punishments” involving tattooing the face, cutting off the nose, cutting off the feet, castration, and finally death by exposure. Li Si was Prime Minister during China’s Qin Dynasty and fell out of favor with the Emperor. It should be noted Li Si invented The Five Pains.
4. Henry Smolinski held a degree in aeronautical engineering from the Northrup Institute Of Technology. Old Hank got the idea that a flying car was necessary so he bastardized the boxed-wing rear section of a Cessna 337 Skymaster and welded it onto the top of a ‘71 Ford Pinto. He actually got the thing to fly. On September 11, 1973, Hank took his buddy, Harold Blake, up for a spin in the Pinto. At around three hundred feet, one of the wings snapped and the pony-car bucked them off to a fiery death.
3. Abu Nasr Ismail ibn Hammad a-Jawhari died around 1008 AD at Nishapur which is in today’s Iraq. He was a Muslim cleric, scholar, and a bit of an inventor. He was fascinated with flight so he built a pair of feather-covered, wooden wings and strapped them to his back and arms. To impress the Iman, Mr. a-Jawhari jumped off the roof of the mosque hoping they’d work. They didn’t, but to commemorate the first known attempt at human flight, they built a mosaic mural on the wall of the mosque. It’s actually quite pretty.
2. Wan-Hu may or may not have been real. Some say he was apocryphal, or doubtful, but one thing’s for sure — he’s a legend. Wan-Hu was reported to be a 16th-century Chinese official who tried to shoot himself to the moon by attaching forty-seven rockets to a chair and lighting them all at once. They say there was this huge bang and, when the smoke cleared, Wan-Hu and his chair were nowhere to be found. Today, there’s a crater on the moon named after Wan-Hu… and I’m not making this up.
1. Franz Reichelt was real — a real stupid sonofabitch if there ever was one. He was known as The Flying Tailor and is credited with inventing the coat parachute. To prove it worked, he conned the keepers of the Eifel Tower to let him demonstrate. On February 04, 1912, Franz held a major press venue so they could witness his inaugural jump. He leaped from the first deck and gravity took over. It was captured on film and today you can watch this moron splat himself on YouTube.
By Garry Rodgers

Incredible New Year’s Celebrations Around The World

United States

A view of Times Square during the countdown to midnight at the Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2018 on December 31, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for dick clark productions)


Fireworks explode over the Brandenburg Gate during New Year’s festivities on January 1, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. Tens of thousands of revelers gathered in the city center to celebrate New Year’s Eve. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)


Fireworks explode from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House during the midnight fireworks display on New Year’s Eve on New Year’s Eve on January 1, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Scott BarbourCity of Sydney/Getty Images)


Fireworks explode around National Monument during New Year celebration in Jakarta, Indonesia, January 1, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Wahyu Putro/ via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. INDONESIA OUT.

People fly lanterns at Borobudur temple during New Year celebrations in Magelang, Indonesia, January 1, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Anis Efizudin/ via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. INDONESIA OUT.
BALI, INDONESIA – JANUARY 01: Festive fireworks welcome the 2018 New Year celebrations at Kuta beach on January 01, 2018 in Bali, Indonesia.
PHOTOGRAPH BY Sutanta Aditya / Barcroft Images


TAIPEI, TAIWAN – JANUARY 1: Fireworks light up the Taiwan skyline and Taipei 101 during New Years Eve celebrations just after midnight on January 1, 2018 in Taipei, Taiwan. (Photo by Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images)


United Kingdom

Fireworks light up the sky over the London Eye in central London during the New Year celebrations. (Photo by John Stillwell/PA Images via Getty Images)

Fireworks explode behind the Elizabeth Tower, commonly known as Big Ben, during New Year’s Eve celebrations in London, Britain, January 1, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY


South Korea

Fireworks explode over Lotte Group’s 123-storey skyscraper Lotte World Tower as it is illuminated during New Year celebration in Seoul, South Korea, January 1, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji



New Year revellers gather on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris on December 31, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME SOUVANT

Images are projected on the Arc de Triomphe monument during a laser and 3D video mapping show as part of the New Year celebration in Paris on December 31, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME SOUVANT



Fireworks explode over downtown Beirut, Lebanon, during New Year’s celebrations, on January 1, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / ANWAR AMRO



Fireworks explode by the Ancient Acropolis in Athens during the New Year celebrations on December 31, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI



A group of Maasai tribe perform a traditional dance during the New Year’s Eve celebrations on Nungwi Beach in Zanzibar, Tanzania, on December 31, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / GULSHAN KHAN 


 North Korea

Fireworks are seen during New Year celebrations in this photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on January 1, 2018. KCNA / via REUTERS



Fireworks explode over the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) square during the New Year’s Eve celebrations in Nairobi, Kenya January 1, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya


HONG KONG, CHINA – DECEMBER 31: Fireworks explore over Victoria Harbour on New Year’s Eve on December 31, 2018 in Hong Kong, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

People celebrate the new year during a countdown event at Yongdingmen Gate in Beijing, China, January 1, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee


People watch fireworks during New Year’s celebrations at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro on January 1, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MAURO PIMENTEL (Photo credit should read MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP/Getty Images)

People take photos of fireworks during New Year’s celebrations at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro on January 1, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MAURO PIMENTEL (Photo credit should read MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP/Getty Images)


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – DECEMBER 31 : Fireworks light up the sky over Petronas Towers during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on December 31, 2017. (Photo by Alexandra Radu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)


Fireworks explode around Familienkirche church during New Year celebrations in Vienna, Austria, January 1, 2018. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader


People release balloons as they take part in a New Year countdown event in celebrations to ring in 2018 in Tokyo, Japan January 1, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai



Fireworks are seen in Reykjavik on New Year’s Day in Iceland January 1, 2018. REUTERS/Geirix

Fireworks are seen in Reykjavik on New Year’s Day in Iceland January 1, 2018. REUTERS/Geirix


People dance during the New Year’s celebrations on a beach in Mumbai, India, January 1, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A schoolgirl reacts as she gets her face painted during celebrations to welcome the New Year at her school in Ahmedabad, India, December 30, 2017. REUTERS/Amit Dave TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY


KURESSAARE, ESTONIA, KURESSAARE, ESTONIA – 2017/12/31: Fireworks seen near the Kuressaare Castle during the New Years Eve. Kuressare is a town and a municipality on Saaremaa island and it’s the capital of Saare County and the westernmost town in Estonia. (Photo by Hendrik Osula/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)


A Pakistani man dances on a street next to fireworks as he celebrates the new year during in the port city of Karachi early on January 1, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / ASIF HASSAN (Photo credit should read ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistani people prepare to release lanterns as they gather to celebrate the new year in Lahore early on January 1, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / ARIF ALI (Photo credit should read ARIF ALI/AFP/Getty Images)


How To Handle Rejection

Have you recently left an interview feeling demotivated? Disappointed you didn’t get the job, or unhappy with your interview performance?

As an investor, I’ve had to learn that not every deal succeeds. The same is true of interviews. I would love to guarantee you 100% success, but not every interview will end with you getting the job, because some things aren’t meant to be, and for whatever reason, you’re not the right candidate for that role.
The important thing is not to dwell on your misfortune, it’s okay to fail, failure doesn’t mean you need to give up, it’s just another experience to learn from.
Instead of wallowing and losing hope, immediately look for what you can learn from the experience and come away stronger.

Make sure you ask for feedback

If you fail to get selected, assess why you weren’t chosen and be prepared to deal with any issues you can identify.
Let’s say you receive an email that says “Thank you for coming in, but unfortunately you haven’t been selected”.
The first thing you should be thinking about is finding out why. Nine out of ten interviewers won’t give you a reason in the email, and most people accept that.
This is where they go wrong. If you don’t know why, how are you going to improve?

Find out what went wrong

Don’t be afraid to call your interviewer directly and pose the question. The trick is to handle this conversation carefully to ensure you get an answer you can work with, and not a bland, generic ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ response.
Be polite, yet forward. Show your appreciation, thank them for their time, trigger their memory by referring to something specific you discussed – something that will help the interviewer put a face to your name.

Then it’s time to make your move…

Ask: “I interviewed for the marketing role recently. I fully understand you found a better suited candidate, but just out of curiosity, could I ask what did you think made me unsuitable for the job? What do I need to work on?”
Initially, the interviewer will be taken aback by your question, and will probably try and give you a generic “you didn’t have the right experience” approach.
That’s the time to push harder.

“What area in particular did you feel I lacked experience?”

When you have an answer you can work with, you can either take this opportunity to push back and pitch yourself again, or thank them for the feedback and ensure you take this particular point into consideration next time you’re interviewing.
Constructive feedback can highlight weaknesses you weren’t aware of. Don’t see this as a bad thing, understanding your strengths and weaknesses is vital for future success, and it’s a skill many of us lack.
Take it from me, as an employer and businessman, this approach is guaranteed to leave a good impression.

The benefits of work/life balance in work performance.

Wikipedia quotes 58 institutions that use the slogan ‘A Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body’. The reason it’s so popular is because it’s so sensible. I agree, but see an equally important and often overlooked extension of this concept of balance – both the mind and the body’s health is optimised by balancing your work life with your personal life.

Finding this balance is becoming harder, not easier. A business owner emailed me this week with the following confession:
“I’m finding it harder and harder to provide outstanding service within the framework of an 8-12 hour day. I truly enjoy what I do and have great clients who appreciate my assistance but I’d love to find a way to be able to do that in a manner that leaves me more discretionary time to pursue other passions”.
He’s right. We no longer leave our work in the office, it follows us everywhere we go. The growth of 24/7 connectivity – impossible a decade ago, but normal now – brings with it it’s own set of problems. With many managers making a virtue out of being indispensable and too busy. Workaholism is not something to boast about, and I get uneasy when hearing people’s pride in working excessively.
Where these people see virtue in their non-stop efforts, I see misplaced management and insufficient delegation. There’s a difference between a responsive ‘always on’ business, and a requirement for the individuals employed there to also be always working.
Some companies mandate that all employees take vacations each year. Did you know that some do so primarily to detect possible fraud? I believe all companies should do this, and not just as an audit/fraud control measure. It should be regarded as best practice for ensuring that managers delegate well and the company is ‘fault tolerant’ and readily adapts to the occasional absences.
I recently spoke on productivity and my lead point was to work smarter, not harder. I don’t measure the worth of a person by their hours of work, but by their achievements and outcomes, and when interviewing candidates, I try to get a sense not just of what they’ve done, but how it fits in with a balanced life.
This flies in the face of some conventional wisdom, contradicting the business leaders who boast of their dedication to work and the personal sacrifices they make for their company, and is the opposite of the approach of some companies famous for their high-pressure work environments. Even worse are the companies that pay lip service to work/life balance but still demand too much from their people.
We all see things more clearly when we’re fresh. Creativity doesn’t work to a time-clock, and is best allowed to express itself freely and without forcing. We make better decisions when we’ve paused and mulled something overnight. We all are better people, at home and at work, when we’re enjoying a balanced life in both parts of our lives.
Staff retention improves when companies encourage their people to appropriately balance home and work life, and such companies quickly get a reputation as being good employers and find it easier to attract good staff to start with. This approach isn’t simply altruistic, it is best for the company as well as its people.

Companies should understand the broader meaning of ‘A Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body’and see it as more than just buying gym memberships for their staff. They should encourage and support all forms of quality leisure experiences for their employees – but without corporate involvement and without causing them to be viewed as an extension of the company.
Oh – my advice to the business owner, quoted above? Simply to add a signature line to his emails showing his hours of work and response time promise. This creates a service level expectation to his clients, and also gives him a measuring stick for when to start and when to stop. It’s worth a try.

by James Caan CBE

Curiosity – Robot Geologist and Chemist in One!

This artist’s concept features NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, a mobile robot for investigating Mars’ past or present ability to sustain microbial life.
Curiosity landed near the Martian equator about 10:31 p.m., Aug. 5 PDT (1:31 a.m. Aug. 6 EDT).

In this picture, the rover examines a rock on Mars with a set of tools at the end of the rover’s arm, which extends about 7 feet (2 meters). Two instruments on the arm can study rocks up close. A drill can collect sample material from inside of rocks and a scoop can pick up samples of soil. The arm can sieve the samples and deliver fine powder to instruments inside the rover for thorough analysis.
The mast, or rover’s “head,” rises to about 6.9 feet (2.1 meters) above ground level, about as tall as a basketball player. This mast supports two remote-sensing science instruments: the Mast Camera, or “eyes,” for stereo color viewing of surrounding terrain and material collected by the arm; and, the Chemistry and Camera instrument, which uses a laser to vaporize a speck of material on rocks up to about 23 feet (7 meters) away and determines what elements the rocks are made of.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.
For more information about Curiosity is at http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ .
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Find Your Kosciuszko Find Your Kosciuszko

Polish Embassy announces Kosciuszko 200 celebrations to take place across the USA.

It is believed that Polish and American war hero General Thaddeus Kosciuszko has been honored with more statues, monuments and other memorials in the United States than any other Revolutionary War figure except, of course, George Washington himself.
This coming October 15th marks the 200th anniversary of General Thaddeus Kosciuszko’s passing. To celebrate this anniversary the Embassy of the Republic of Poland invites you to Find Your Kosciuszko and organize a Kosciuszko 200 event in your neighborhood.
“I invite all Polish-Americans, friends of Poland and supporters of liberty to join in commemorating General Thaddeus Kosciuszko” said Ambassador Piotr Wilczek, who is the honorary patron of Kosciuszko 200 celebrations. “Thaddeus Kosciuszko holds a special place in the history of Poland and the United States. He is a symbol of freedom and a model patriot who crossed an ocean to help the American people secure their independence.”
General Thaddeus Kosciuszko (1746-1817) is a hero of two nations who fought in the Continental Army for the independence of the United States of America. Kosciuszko served seven years in the service of General George Washington and the American cause, proving instrumental in the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga and was responsible for overseeing the fortification of West Point. Described by Thomas Jefferson as “the purest son of liberty” Kosciuszko was a strong proponent of universal liberty and human rights, who deeded his wartime pay to purchase freedom for American slaves.
There are Kosciuszko namesakes all across America, reflecting the historic role he has played in the history of the United States. Find your local Thaddeus Kosciuszko namesake and organize a Kosciuszko 200 celebration on the weekend of October 14-15 in his honor.
Kosciuszko 200 How-To:
1. Identify a Kosciuszko namesake in your vicinity. Research online, visit your library, or ask around. See if there are any parks, streets, statues, memorials, plaques or other references to Kosciuszko near you. If a statue is located in a park and is easily accessible, inquire whether any permits would be required to organize a gathering. If the object is not easily accessible, for instance a bridge, see if there is a park or open space nearby that could be suitable for a gathering.
2. Reach out to local Polish-American organizations, veterans groups, local historical societies, religious groups, civic clubs, etc. Seek out others to help you organize a successful event. Spread the word once details have been finalized so community members can attend.
3. Invite community and regional leaders to attend and speak about the contributions and legacy of General Thaddeus Kosciuszko. For instance: mayors, historians, veterans, local and state representatives, clergy and others. See that proclamations are issued by your local governments to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Kosciuszko’s death.
4. Be sure to inform the Embassy! We want to know where events are planned! We will include your event on our Kosciuszko 200 page, and your event will be part of a whole host of celebrations dedicated to Thaddeus Kosciuszko occurring all across America.
5. Tag your photos and social media posts with #Kosciuszko200
Sources: Polish Embassy US, poland.pl

Kościuszko: an uncomfortable symbol

Professor Richard Butterwick-Pawlikowski, Chairholder of the European Civilisation Chair at the College of Europe in Warsaw, tells Poland.pl about the significance of Tadeusz Kościuszko for Poland, Europe and the world.

POLAND.PL: 200 years ago, on 15 October 1817, Tadeusz Kościuszko, an engineer, military commander, leader of the anti-Russian uprising and anti-Prussian insurrection of 1794, died in Solothurn, Switzerland. The Polish parliament declared 2017 as the Kosciuszko Year and celebrations are being held under the patronage of UNESCO. Is this a confirmation that Kosciuszko’s reputation goes beyond Poland and that he has become a hero on a global scale?

RICHARD BUTTERWICK-PAWLIKOWSKI: I’m delighted that UNESCO recognizes the inspirational potential of Tadeusz Kościuszko on a global scale. However, I’d be surprised if his unpronouncable name was familiar to many people except historians outside his homelands of Poland, Lithuania and Belarus, except in the USA, where he remains a hero of the War of Independence against the British, and Australia, whose highest mountain is pronounced “Kozzy-os-ko”.

Today, not only Poles but also Americans, French, and even Belarusians and Lithuanians are claiming links to Tadeusz Kościuszko – what do other nations value about him? How is he seen in Western Europe? What should Poles value Tadeusz Kościuszko for?

Poles of almost all political persuasions can find much to admire in Kościuszko, although he can still be an uncomfortable symbol. Some conservatives who applaud his leadership of an insurrection for national independence are discomfited by his socially radical and anticlerical views, while some left-wingers who like his egalitarian inclinations dislike his insistence on respecting legal norms and procedures and his religiosity. Admirers of Prince Józef Poniatowski and the Duchy of Warsaw often find Kościuszko’s principled refusal to compromise with Napoleon infuriating. However everyone agrees that he was a man with an implacable conscience, which was the key to his moral authority.

Tadeusz Kościuszko is primarily a symbol of the 19th century national liberation struggle, but he also invokes universal values ​​which he fought for in his life and which are also present today. What are these values ​​in your opinion?

He was fundamentally opposed to slavery and serfdom. His gestures during the 1794 Rising contributed hugely to the process of enabling enserfed peasants to consider themselves Poles. In his will he left money (partly backpay from his American war service) to free slaves, but the executor of his will, his friend Thomas Jefferson – a slaveowner – failed to carry out his wishes. An ideal war hero for Americans divided by controversies over confederate statues, perhaps?

He studied history at the University of Cambridge where he graduated with first-class honours in 1989. Following a year at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, he moved to the University of Oxford to study for his doctorate, which he was awarded in 1994. He then held a postdoctoral fellowship at Oxford, before becoming Lecturer in Modern European History at the Queen’s University of Belfast in 1997. In 2005 he moved to the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College London, where in 2013 he became Professor of Polish-Lithuanian History. He is on leave from UCL in 2014-17, enabling him to hold the European Civilization Chair at Natolin. In 2016 he was awarded the bronze medal Gloria Artis for his services to Polish culture by Poland’s Ministry of Culture.
Professor Butterwick-Pawlikowski’s research focuses on the Enlightenment and its critics in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, as well as on the history and culture of one of the most remarkable polities in European history – the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569-1795). He is the author of over seventy scholarly publications – monographs, edited volumes, and articles and chapters in refereed journals and collections.
Sources: coleurope.eu, poland.pl